Scale and proportion are without a doubt the most important elements in achieving great design. Together they are the holy grail of design - not just interior design, but all design. These are key factors we stylists at DEKORA always take into consideration, but they are often overlooked by architects, builders, developers and sometimes even interior designers! Forgive us if this sounds like a bit of a rant, but it kind of is…. As stylists, we need to consider - and are often asked - what can “work" for furniture placement in rooms that are difficult and awkward to plan. We then find ourselves challenged to create furnishing and styling solutions to compensate for poorly designed spaces. Not our favourite scenario.
In residential design, scale relates to the size of an object compared with the space it occupies, while proportion is concerned with the relationship of elements to one another, and to the whole. You may have the perfect color scheme and style in mind for a space, but by choosing ill-fitting pieces of furniture or using the wrong scale, the design will fail. Picking the right scale of furniture for a room makes the room balanced. Proportion and scale are often overlooked, while style and taste take over and lead the design process.
You may ask, for example, is the art too big for the wall? Well, it may seem so, but proportionally the scale of key furniture pieces may balance out the overall mix, making it work for that room. That’s the art of balance – the third critical element! Sometimes you need to play around with space to make it work, even changing the use for spaces – like swapping where living and dining areas are intended to be. This is particularly true in small spaces like apartments and townhomes, and it can make all the difference!
Art selection, colour, style, periods - these are all subjective, but scale, proportion and balance are rules most of us underestimate and often overlook. Don’t be afraid to be bold! Some would say use large pieces for a large room and smaller pieces for smaller spaces, but that’s not necessarily true. Think big! Often bold strokes can create the impression of space, while too many small pieces can make a room feel cluttered. Some examples… a large vase with tall branches, a stack of books and a gorgeous object often work better than a dozen smaller pieces for an entry table. A coffee table that is too small or too large can throw off a living room and create imbalance. Maybe the room would work better with a round table. Similarly, an undersized area rug makes a small room seem smaller and a large room look disconnected. Ideally all the furniture should sit on the rug, even if just the front legs of the key pieces.
Every home should ultimately reflect its occupants’ taste and lifestyle, using scale, proportion and balance to help tie together a cohesive scheme.
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For a taste of how we style for scale, proportion and balance, check out this New Modern Home in Dunbar.